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From The Canon's Yeoman's Tale, lines 815-834:
The canon urges the priest not to tell any person
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Canon's Yeoman's Tale
lines 835-874: The moral of the previous narrative


835        Considereth, sires, how that, in ech estaat,
Bitwixe men and gold ther is debaat
So ferforth that unnethes is ther noon.
This multiplying blent so many oon
That in good feith I trowe that it bee
840The cause grettest of swich scarsetee.
Philosophres speken so mystily
In this craft that men kan nat come therby,
For any wit that men han now-a-dayes.
They mowe wel chiteren as doon thise jayes,
845And in hir termes sette hir lust and peyne,
But to hir purpos shul they nevere atteyne.
A man may lightly lerne, if he have aught,
To multiplie, and brynge his good to naught!
835        Consider, sirs, how that, in each estate,
Between men and their gold there is debate
To such degree that gold is nearly done.
This multiplying blinds so many a one
That in good faith I think that it may be
840The greatest cause of this said scarcity.
Philosophers they speak so mistily
About this craft, plain men can't come thereby
With any wit that men have nowadays.
They may well chatter, as do all these jays,
845And in vague cant set their desire and pain,
But to their purpose shall they ne'er attain.
A man may easily learn, if he have aught,
To multiply, and bring his wealth to naught.
       Lo! swich a lucre is in this lusty game,
850A mannes myrthe it wol turne unto grame,
And empten also grete and hevye purses,
And maken folk for to purchacen curses
Of hem that han hir good therto ylent.
O! fy, for shame! They that han been brent,
855Allas! kan they nat flee the fires heete?
Ye that it use, I rede ye it leete,
Lest ye lese al; for bet than nevere is late.
Nevere to thryve were to long a date.
Though ye prolle ay, ye shul it nevere fynde.
860Ye been as boold as is Bayard the blynde,
That blondreth forth, and peril casteth noon.
He is as boold to renne agayn a stoon
As for to goon bisides in the weye.
So faren ye that multiplie, I seye.
865If that youre eyen kan nat seen aright,
Looke that youre mynde lakke noght his sight.
For though ye looken never so brode and stare,
Ye shul nothyng wynne on that chaffare,
But wasten al that ye may rape and renne.
870Withdraweth the fir, lest it to faste brenne;
Medleth namoore with that art, I mene,
For if ye doon, youre thrift is goon ful clene.
And right as swithe I wol yow tellen heere
What philosophres seyn in this mateere.
       Lo, such a gain is in this pleasant game
850A man's mirth it will turn to grief and shame,
And it will empty great and heavy purses,
And causes alchemists to get the curses
Of all of those who thereunto have lent.
O fie! For shame! Those who the fire resent,
855Alas! can they not flee the fire's fierce heat?
If you have tried it, leave it, I repeat,
Lest you lose all; better than never is late.
Never to thrive at all were a long date.
And though you prowl, you never gold shall find;
860You are as bold as Bayard is, the blind,
That blunders forth and thinks of danger, none;
He is as bold to run against a stone
As to go ambling down the broad highway.
And so fare you who multiply, I say.
865If your two fleshly eyes can't see aright,
Look to it that your mind lack not for sight.
For, though you look about and though you stare,
You shall not win a mite in traffic there,
But you shall waste all you may scrape and turn.
870Avoid that fire, lest much too fast it burn;
Meddle no more with that base art, I mean,
For if you do, you'll lose your savings clean.
And now I'll tell you briefly, if I may,
What the philosophers about this say.




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From The Canon's Yeoman's Tale, lines 875-928:
Why is the recipe of the philosopher's stone still a secret?
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